Name of Funding Organization/Sponsor: German Federal Foreign Office (through the German Committee for Disaster Reduction)
Country and Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Start Date: November 2007
Completion Date: February 2010
Related Reports and Documents
- Phase 1 Summary Report
- Topical Report No. 1 (Kathmandu Risk-Sensitive Land Use Planning) – Phase 1
- Topical Report No. 2 (Kathmandu Emergency Management) – Phase 1
- Sectoral Profile of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal – Phase 2
- Risk-Sensitive Land Use Plan of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal – Phase 2
- Structuring and Implementing a Competent Disaster Risk Management Function in Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal – Phase 2
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and also the historic, political, commercial, cultural and tourist center of the country. It is Nepal’s largest city, covering a total land area of 5, 076.6 hectares, 3,844.56 hectares of which are built up areas, and home to an estimated 1,010,151 residents. The city is situated in the northwestern section of the Kathmandu Valley, which is bisected by several faults. Since 1800, Kathmandu has experienced five seismic events greater than magnitude 7, the most recent of which was the magnitude 8.3 earthquake in 1934. As average earthquake intensities equal to or greater than 8 are estimated to occur every 36 years, while earthquakes with intensities of 9 or greater can be expected to take place every 75 years, there is a high likelihood in the future of an earthquake which will cause significant damage to the city.
Aside from the high seismicity of its location, the extreme vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure, as well as the high density of its built environment also contribute to Kathmandu’s seismic risk. Only a small percentage of structures are considered to be earthquake resistant, with the overwhelming majority of buildings having high to very high structural vulnerability. These factors, coupled with difficult access due to narrow roads and the potential for secondary effects after an earthquake such as liquefaction, fires, and landslides, are indicators of the possible catastrophic effects of natural hazards on the city and its residents (EMI, 2010). Kathmandu is also subject to other hazards such as flooding and has a high exposure to climate change due to its location and fragile environment, aggravating the city’s vulnerability to natural hazards.
For the first phase of the project from November 2007 to February 2008, EMI executed a set of activities that looked into two elements: (1) A review of existing Land Use Planning (LUP) documentation; the development of a consensus list of relevant disaster management issues with local authorities and other partners to eventually be integrated into the LUP; and the formulation of terms of reference for valley-wide LUP, and (2) An overview and analysis of existing disaster management structures, capacities and performance; and development of consensus recommendations on improvements of emergency management capabilities of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC). Through a series of consultations with local stakeholders, EMI experts were able to come up with a diagnosis of the current situation of the LUP and emergency management practices within KMC, the broader context of the Kathmandu Valley, as well as the country itself. Discussions with local partners led to the development of a consensus with the local partners in terms of gaps, needs, and priorities. Together with the partners and with the full involvement of the KMC officials, the scope of work for the remaining phases of the project, the forging of a cooperative agenda between EMI and its local partners, and definition of each organization’s roles and responsibilities were agreed upon. Prior to the end of the project’s first phase, a memorandum of agreement was formalized between EMI, KMC and the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) for the conduct of future work.
From June 2008 to January 2010, EMI undertook the second phase of the project, which aimed to support the disaster reduction efforts of Kathmandu, strengthen its disaster management capabilities, and facilitate the mainstreaming of sound risk reduction practices into basic local governance functions through the completion of two main tasks, namely: (1) the development of a risk-sensitive physical land use plan (RSLUP) for the city, and (2) structuring and implementing a competent disaster risk management function at KMC.
The first task seeks to fully integrate risk reduction parameters into KMC’s spatial and physical development strategies, bylaws and procedures, as well as mobilize political commitment and cooperation for disaster risk reduction (DRR) at the local and regional levels. This initiative also demonstrates how effective land use planning can be as a tool to lessen the physical, social and economic vulnerabilities of cities to natural hazards. The second task is focused on building the competency of the Disaster Management Section of KMC’s Urban Development Department to more effectively align its operations with DRR standards and requirements, enable it to implement national DRR strategies at the local level, and link such initiatives with the needs of communities, with the long-term goal of building a culture of preparedness and prevention anchored on social mobilization and citizen’s safety.
The Risk-Sensitive Land Use Plan
The RSLUP is a ten-year guide (2010-2020) for realizing KMC’s desired spatial pattern of development, with due consideration to the city’s seismic risks, emergency response and disaster management capabilities, through different land use policies and urban renewal schemes. The plan builds on previous and existing land use plans, land use maps and land use-related programs of the government, as well as policies, initiatives and studies in disaster risk management (DRM) that affect Kathmandu, such as the Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in the Kathmandu Valley undertaken by JICA in 2002. The RSLUP explicitly incorporates assessments and projections for transportation and traffic management in the future. It also includes strategies and actions that prescribe reasonable limits and restraints on the use of property through proposed zoning regulations and other local ordinances and control mechanisms for development within the city. The plan is intended to serve as a guide for engaging in historical preservation, infrastructure development, regulating housing settlements and open space, reclassifying agricultural lands into nonagricultural uses, and improving emergency management. It covers the entire territorial jurisdiction of KMC.
Contained within the RSLUP is a Draft Zoning Ordinance that is meant to serve as the principal instrument for enforcing the locational policies and performance standards of the plan. Once the zoning ordinance is enacted, further land development must be aligned with what is stipulated in the RSLUP.
The Disaster Management Section of KMC
EMI and its project partners have put in place the initial mechanisms to establish an operational and competent new section in charge for emergency and disaster risk management in KMC. A new unit was created, originally called the Disaster Risk Management and Citizen Safety Unit but now referred to as the Disaster Management Section (DMS). This unit has been institutionalized as part of the Urban Development Department through a directive of the city’s Chief Executive Officer. The administrative structure of the DMS was likewise defined, as well as its horizontal and vertical linkages with other stakeholders. Job descriptions for the unit’s key positions were also drafted, in close consultation with KMC.
As part of the project, a draft City Ordinance on Disaster Management was formulated for KMC. The ordinance authorizes a program for pre-disaster mitigation, provides direction and coordination of disaster preparations, response, and recovery and streamlines the administration of disaster relief in KMC. Customized training courses on emergency management were also conducted by EMI to enhance the competencies of DMS personnel. Face-to-face trainings were conducted using Table Top Exercise earthquake scenarios. Such methodology helped develop common operating procedures, defined major roles and responsibilities on emergency response, and contributed to a better understanding by KMC of its relationships with other stakeholders. An Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) was also developed for the city, which provides for an Emergency Management System to respond to a major disaster affecting people, property, and infrastructure, such as a high magnitude earthquake. It also describes authorities, responsibilities, functions and operations of KMC during emergencies.
The “Departmental Responsibility Matrix,” otherwise known as Emergency Support Functions (ESF), is a grouping of government and certain private-sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide support, resources, program implementation, and emergency services that are most likely to be needed during emergencies. Operating agencies and KMC Department assigned personnel participate in the ESF structure as coordinators, primary response and/or support agencies, or as required, to support incident management activities. The objectives of the ESFs are: (1) development and maintenance of detailed plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to support emergency response functional requirements; (2) identification of sources of emergency supplies, equipment and transportation; (3) maintenance of accurate records of disaster-related expenditure and documentation; (4) protection and preservation of records essential for continuity of government; and (5) establishment of a line of successions for key emergency personnel. For this project, 15 ESFs were developed.
The preliminary RSLUP, Emergency Operations Plan and other outputs produced by the project were the result of a two-year collaboration by a multidisciplinary team of specialists and practitioners from KMC, NSET, and EMI. The project received the support of public officials from within KMC, as well as other ministries and agencies of the Government of Nepal. The outcome also benefitted from recommendations and comments of external peer reviewers, KMC officials, and representatives of relevant ministries, in particular the Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Planning and Public Works through its concerned agencies, namely, the Department of Urban Development and Public Construction and the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee. The following development partners also provided significant inputs to the project through the various consultation and workshops conducted during its implementation: the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Asian Development Bank, German Technical Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and City Development Initiative of Asia
Project Key Accomplishments
- Formulation of a sensible and rational framework for KMC’s sustainable and disaster resilient development based on solid planning parameters and integrating hazard, vulnerability and risk information
- Establishment of an operational and competent section in charge for emergency and disaster risk management in KMC
- Enhanced capacity of KMC stakeholders in risk-sensitive land use planning and emergency management
EMI Personnel Involved
- Dr. Eng. Fouad Bendimerad, Project Director, Earthquake Risk Assessment and DRR Expert
- Dr. Tabassam Raza, Project Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist
- Dr. Khalid Bouzina, Project Manager
- Jerome Zayas, Project Coordinator, Community Awareness Specialist
- Shirley Mattingly, Emergency Management Task Leader
- Dr. Marqueza Reyes, Risk Sensitive Land Use Planning Task Leader
- Dr. Renan Tanhueco, Urban and Development Panning Planning Task Leader
- Dr. Noriel Tiglao, Transport Planner
- Jim Buika, Disaster Risk Management Expert
- Deborah Steffen, Emergency Management Expert
- Marino Deocariza, Land Use Planner
- Rajjan Chitrakar, Local Coordinator
- Julie Catherine Paran, Knowledge Development and Dissemination
- Tara Ledesma, Training Task Leader
- Nadia Pulmano, Training Specialist
- Irwin Gabriel Lopez, Training Coordinator
- Tanya Mia Hisanan, Lay-out and Design
- Jerome Cruz, Knowledge Management and Layout and Art Direction
- Jose Daclan, Editorial Support
- Zenaida Tejerero, Administration and Procurement
- Letty Perez, Accounting and Finance
- Joyce Lyn Salunat, Research Intern